Sunday, December 29, 2013

Things I Learned at Girl's Night

My brilliant friends, Rachael and Leslie, came up with this amazing plan to forgo Christmas presents in exchange for spending time together. SUCH a sweet idea and I especially loved it because I had no intention of getting them anything anyways, so this let me off the hook! I'm not entirely sure how a girl's night turned into Trapeze School but I'm not entirely sure how Rachael's mind works. I just go with it.
I had NO idea what to expect. I guess I figured I'd swing on something and fall a lot. I mean, I'm pretty strong, but I wasn't entirely sure how well my arms could hold me up....
I double triple quadruple questioned this when we showed up and our instructor told us we'd be hanging from our knees upside down and doing a backflip. As Sarah said, "I'm sorry I zoned out for a minute. Did you say backflip??" Exactly. Listen people, I can't even do a cartwheel. The only remotely acrobatic thing I can do is the cup on my forehead trick. I don't even think I could somersault without hurting myself.... I am.
It was pretty frigging amazing! Let's just say we already booked our next class. Completely. Hooked. (I might have a slightly addictive personality...)
As I don't get out for a girl's night very often, and never to this magnitude and hilarity, I found a few things that I learned worth mentioning:
1: Cabbies with the first name 'Getachew' are not from Mexico and don't speak Spanish.
2: Regardless of how badass you are on a trapeze, no dude looks cool in metallic, paisley spandex.
3: The human body + physics are an amazing combination.
4: Consider trapeze clothing choice carefully: they put a belt around your waist SO tight that you end up looking like a canister of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls that's been busted open, and then someone inexplicably tightened a belt around the middle.
5: Ladies, don't take your boyfriend to trapeze school to show him how good you are at it and how uncoordinated and awkward he is. It's completely emasculating and you will never want to sleep with him ever again, even if he deserves a medal for trying. (Btw, this truly applies to riding as well. Don't take your boyfriend riding unless you think he can NOT look like an idiot. There's nothing less attractive.)
6: I'm completely and blindly trusting of people in their given professions. These people were holding us in midair, guiding the safety ropes, and telling us what to do in the moment, and it never even occurred to me to think "gosh I hope they take this seriously...".
7: Only I can pack for an entire day at the barn with 2 kids, trapeze school, a dress and makeup for dinner, and only forget underwear.
8: DC is the worst laid out city in the entire world. Ever.
9: Having stoplights within a roundabout COMPLETELY defeats the purpose of the roundabout.
10: Cops in DC apparently aren't very busy, because out of boredom, they pulled me over on the busiest on ramp, in the dark, to tell me my registration stickers were expired. (They weren't actually. I explained that I had lost the stickers and couldn't find them, when in actuality I couldn't remember if I'd put them in the car or not and haven't bothered to look for them. I even tried to pass it off like the stickers were lost when I handed the young officer my registration card but the fact that they were stapled to the back really gave me away. On the plus side, I found them!! And the 2 police officers that were necessary to pull my Prius over put them on my plates for me. That was nice for when I was driving home at 2am. Thanks guys!
11: African editors are very friendly people and good photographers.
12: Good waiters are trained to keep a straight face so it doesn't seem like they're eavesdropping on your conversation, but they can only hold out so long.
13: And finally, I will never in my life get the dress code right with these girls:

(Here was last time we got together:

I'm too brunette.)

Friday, December 13, 2013

One At A Time....

It's been close to a year since we drove up to New York and started down this biomedical path of supplements and probiotics. It's been a bit of a bumpy road, but it's sure as shit been better than anything else we've tried.
As I mentioned when we put James on all these different things, we did it very methodically, starting with the things we were pretty sure weren't going to cause a reaction and ending with the things that had more of a potential of some sort of side effect or die off effect. We only kept the things that benefitted him.
Probiotics are frequently known to have a die off effect when the gut is crowded with bad bacteria. This means, basically, that the good bacteria are crowding out and killing off the bad. During this period, it can make you feel kind of cruddy, but then it should ease up. The probiotic that we put James on, I had heard was a bit gentler on them. And it really seemed to make him better almost immediately. In fact, at one point I had him on a slightly different one (because the names were stupidly similar and I hadn't realized I'd gotten the wrong one), and he wasn't doing so hot. When I noticed my error and switched back to his normal one, he was markedly better.
Well, when we went in for that fasting blood test several weeks ago, he had 24 hours without any supplements. The next morning I stared at him (creepily) for a while and realized he looked better. His color was better, his face a bit less drawn. He also didn't have to rush to the bathroom as he'd been doing for the past couple of months. I decided to, again, add back his supplements one at a time and see if something was now causing a problem. (Btw I realize my tenses are all wonky...bear with me.)
Anyway, I suspected the probiotics were causing issue so I saved it for last. He just kept doing better and better, pooping as close to normal as he ever has. I didn't even want to put him back on the probiotics at this point, but I knew it wasn't a perfect experiment unless I did. So I gave him a quarter of a dose and he immediately ran to the bathroom.
Talk about killing him with kindness. Course, the doctors don't quite know what to do with this information. His labs actually show he has a need for probiotics. So there are questions of....which one do we put him on and why is he so much better without it? And why the change??
At this point though, he's gained a pound and a half, probably mostly in fluids, and has gained huge ground in his interest in food. He wants to try everything! Interestingly enough (kind of), putting your kid on a GFCF diet is super easy when they don't care about food. Gets tricky when they want all the things other kids are having. We've been having veeeeery lengthy discussions when we go other places about what is gluten free and what isn't. And who eats gluten free and who doesn't. And what will happen if he DOES eat gluten. Etc etc. Etc......etc.
Anyway, he's all into sandwiches now. So I'm, of course, soaking and dehydrating raw cashews and making nut butter so he can digest it. And he is actually eating lunch at school now and doing SO well. It's just....weird. It's definitely opening up a whole new world for us.
I talked to another mom recently about a really long term, intensive feeding program she was considering for her son, which is something we have considered at different times. Some of them are pretty hard core. And I may have given different advice before our latest experiment. But I threw out there that without figuring out WHY her kid wasn't eating, an intensive feeding program would probably be stressful, and probably would only work temporarily. Which is something that Jenny McGlothlin told us many times. It's kind of like losing weight on a juice cleanse diet. It's probably comin back!
It's wonderful to see James feeling good and having energy. We aren't really sure what's going to happen next because....I still haven't gotten The Plan. But at least we are at decent place right now where hopefully we can see some results!

On another note, it's really cold here. But it's the first time that James has felt well enough to play in the snow! He's never been able to last more than a few minutes and it pretty much always ended in tears. This year, he even outlasted Eve!!

They like to watch videos of themselves sledding. While they are sledding.



Friday, December 6, 2013

Guest time?

Tis the season, and all that jazz. Lots of people are having Christmas or various holiday parties.
I'm not.
I even pawned off Thanksgiving on Annie and Rob. It was awesome.

And delicious.

And the kids totally behaved.

However, it's a time where people seem to get all kinds of into entertaining. Play groups become cookie swaps and BBQs are swapped for cocktail parties. Maybe it's because, on top of all the holiday cheer, most of us are stuck inside a great deal more, so we want other people to come in and wallow in misery with us. I mean....have a lot of indoor fun with us while fucking up our house. (....too much?)
Anyway, it can all get very stressful. Kids are playing with decorations that are only supposed to be looked at but also look exactly like a cool toy. Everything is breakable. Everything gets dirty....
We like our house to look clean before everybody tramps in and dirties it up!! I mean....
So this year, I say nay nay.
This year...I will clean my house AFTER you come visit. Don't take it personally. I'm not doing because I care that you or your kid is gonna stomp dirt in my house, I'm doing it so that I don't HAVE to care!
This year...I will attend OTHER people's parties. My kids will look cute, they will behave...I may even bring A dish, or lots of wine. I'll put makeup on! And I'll probably be overdressed out of pure excitement.

This year...I will have play dates and I will have nothing made but coffee. Or champagne, if you prefer (I'm always down). And guess one will care! (Let's face one wants my gluten free, all natural attempts at muffins anyway, unless I make the rum ones. Everyone wants my bubbles.)
This year....I will actually decorate for Christmas. But stay within reason. This is the first year that we will be purposefully at home. And the kids are old enough. We will have a proper tree....and that's probably it. Don't judge me. Baby steps.
This year...I'm not even attempting Christmas cards. But still send me yours. Unless you don't put pictures on them. Then I don't care.
This year...I will probably again be making a bulk, but deliciously homemade Christmas gift. My chimichurri or my salad dressing. I'll take votes.
So this year, I plan on celebrating the first Christmas in over 5 years that hasn't had an underlying suckiness to it. I'm going to enjoy it and teach my kids to remember the true meaning behind it. And also, contradictorily, be a leeetle bit selfish about it. And I won't think ill of anyone doing the same!
I also promise to have a big, outdoor BBQ this summer where everyone can come. I'm still not cleaning my house until after.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wah Waaah: The Anti-Climax

I have been SO excited recently. So. Excited. I haven't even posted anything because I was waiting to make a post about the latest test results. Two weeks ago I got the call that the results were back, and that I had to wait two weeks for the phone appt where I could hear about it. Sigh. But okay. I took the first available appointment, of course.
Now here's the thing: I didn't go so far as to think this was going to be a cure-all. But I did think we were going to develop A Plan. A really good one. And maybe we'd reach a few conclusions...
I sort of hoped so much to the point that I thought maybe it would help form, not the end of or journey certainly, but something to begin wrapping up part 1 of publishing this blog, to hopefully help other parents out there. (Cause nothing makes us feel better than reading about other people's pain and struggles.)
And this still may happen...The Plan.
However....apparently no one in the office out my appointment into their computer. So while I organized Tom to take the kids to school so I could have a phone conversation that didn't consist of "who are you talking to?", "what are you talking about?", "why did you say that?", etc etc in the background....they didn't have their shit together. First they wanted me to reschedule for Thursday, which I can't do. Then they said they'd gather up as much as they could and I should call back in 7 minutes. Apparently it takes 7 minutes. Fascinating.
Anyway, I should have just waiting cause I only got partial info. Dr Mumper didn't have all the information in front of her cause...turns out it does take more than 7 minutes to get all the labs in one place. So she went over what she had, but without the rest of it in front of her, it didn't tell us much. So I'll be getting an email and a letter soon.
I was seriously pissed when I hung up. Tom got an earful of how I feel about the medical community at large. But now I'm just resigned to waiting. Again.
It's fine.

Friday, November 15, 2013


I find myself at this strange point in life where I swap in and out from horse world to real world, horse world to real world. Since James was born, I've actually really been in neither world, so you can imagine my own confusion. As I find myself being able to re-enter society, I'm having to figure out juggling the horse world and the real world.
See, even in the horse world, it's a notable sight to see someone in real world clothes, or who has a real world job, or KIDS! Not much more real world than that, I suppose.
In the real world, well, I guess if you're dressed in Ralph Lauren, that would look normal. usually don't...
My riding days are worked around the kids' school schedule. I drop them at 9 and drive half hour to the barn, then have about 2 hours before I have to jump back in the car to pick them up at noon. Depending on if the horses are ready and what they need to do, I can usually work 3 of them. But I do need to get my boots and spurs and 427 layers of jackets. I usually drive to school looking fairly normal...jeans or workout pants and Ugg boots. A shirt. And then I just change shoes and ride in whatever I have on.
Usually, by the time I'm done on my last horse, I'm running behind, so I whip off my boots or chaps (I can rip chaps off faster than a stripper gets out of Velcro pants), throw the Ugg boots on, redo my ponytail, and peel off jackets. I haven't thought to bring another shirt cause I don't think I could be that organized, but it'd be a good idea because despite frigid temps this week, you tend to sweat under 427 layers. (I hate cold weather.)
Anyway, school is pretty used to me and my extremely half hearted attempts to appear normal...but sometimes I forget about other people. Yesterday I scurry into school a few minutes late in a really bizarre shirt paired with a possibly mismatched Pacific Farms vest, with dirty yoga pants tucked into my dirty, black Uggs. I totally had dirt under my fingernails (that's another real world thing....I kind of have fingernails now). And I probably (definitely) stunk. Lucky for me (and them), there was a well dressed couple there waiting to have a meeting with the teacher. I, of course, introduced myself and shook hands before looking down at myself...and my hands...crap. I felt like I wanted to explain how I ride, and that's why I'm dirty and smell, but they probably wouldn't have believed me cause I was wearing yoga pants and Ugg boots: the uniform of stay at home moms everywhere. If I'd stayed in chaps, no explanation would have been necessary. plan needs refinement.

Or maybe I just need refinement...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Self Awareness

Not my own.

I prefer to remain blissfully ignorant of much of myself. Too confusing.

But I really really REALLY love psychoanalyzing others, and who better to practice on than your own children!

See, kids are like animals. They either can't talk yet or have a hard time expressing feelings or pinpointing a pain or discomfort. Horses, of course, taught me a lot about this. We are constantly trying to feel FOR them.

Like...they're tight on this rein so something is going on with this hind leg. Or they're swishing their tail and tightening their back during this move so something about that is uncomfortable or difficult for them.

Inside every rider is a teeny veterinarian, just like inside every mom is a teeny doctor, much to the dismay of the entire community of medical professionals.

We've spent the last 5 years trying to understand how James feels. Because he's a freakishly good kid, but when he freaks out irrationally at's....irrational. And not normal kid irrational. Fact is, something is, at the very least, uncomfortable. We know that SPD causes people to be uncomfortable in their own skin. Things that should feel good to them in reality feel noxious and threatening. And it's very hard to know how to comfort someone when the traditional means are off-putting.
There are a few things that bring James immense comfort in his difficult world, that I KNOW other parents certainly don't understand. Yes. He's five years old and sleeps with a pacifier. Yes. I know he's going to need braces. He's my son. He was gonna need 'em anyway. And yes. He almost always has a specific toy in his hands at times. It's a bit odd but the alternative is a full blown panic attack, and he can handle being at school without them, so I'm not worried about the long term repercussions. Baby steps, people, baby steps.
What I worry about is: what is going on in his head and body that causes all of this behavior (the fidget, the eye rubbing, the zoning out, the incredible focus on certain things, the outbursts, the feeding and gut issues). All the therapists we've seen over the years said the same thing, "there is an element of this that will get easier as they get older and can understand you, and you, in turn, can understand them."
So I'm tucking James in two nights ago, and with one hand fussing with his eyelashes, he started this conversation:
"Mommy, you know what?"

"What, buddy?"

"Mommy, I don't want to be so itchy all the time."

"Where are you itchy?"

"I'm itchy everywhere. All the time. I'm always itchy. Eve isn't itchy all the time but I am."

"Okay kiddo, well remember all those labs we just did?"

He nods.

"In a few more weeks they're going to help us find out why you're itchy and help us make it all better, okay?"

"Okay. Mommy you know what else?"

"What, buddy?"

"I'm tired all the time. I don't want to be tired all day anymore."

I have him a big hug to hide myself tearing up and said, "okay bud. They're gonna help us with that too. And soon we'll get some new vitamins and learn what the best kind of food is for you to eat and feel all better."

Please God, let them help.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I've mentioned before how tricky I am to live with. Well...I was being nice. I'm also frequently an emotional roller coaster AND I don't tell anyone. Think on that...
I've been pretty worried about James lately. His health has been stagnant. I mean, we're ok (fine). Not like I think we're headed to the hospital soon, but more like...'so is this it...?'
And the last cold hit him pretty hard. Add that to typical life stress, small children nonsensicalness (it's a word), business stress (we have 2 of them too), all sorts of crap....well, basically we had a lady bug influx one afternoon and some (a shit ton) came inside, which happens out here, and I um....I fruck out. Ugly cried. For a long time. While vacuuming lady bugs.
The good thing about this is that when your children see you lose it completely...they're usually ridiculously good for the rest of the day. Shock and awe. I'm all about it.
Anyway, the other thing looming over my head was this big blood draw we were going to have to do as soon as the kit arrived. Not only cause it's stressful for all, but because the amount of blood is A LOT for a 29 lb child. Basically he's donating blood. For this particular test, I had to collect a fasting AM urine, separate it into tubes and make sure it was enough they were full, freeze them for 2 hours before leaving for the dr to have the blood drawn, where our amazing phlebotomist was taking care of all the other stuff. How to make sure all this happened was making my head spin, cause if anything didn't get done properly, the whole thing has to be redone. If they couldn't get ALL the blood, the test doesn't really work. Luckily Tom knows me well enough now (one would hope) that he was aware that until this was completed, I was....not really okay. At least we know! In fact, I voiced it. I said, "until this is all done, can we just allow me to not be ok?" (Enter dramatic hand gestures here).
To which Tom replied, "yep."
He gets me.
So here's how the day has gone.
3:30am- wake James to pee in cup.
Never really go back to sleep and whenever doze off, have dream about messing up pee collection, or dream about Tom messing it up which I've still not recovered from violent feelings of.
5am- wake James again for more pee. Success! Separate into tubes and get it in freezer. Make coffee and sit in dark reading and snapchatting with book Whoreders cause they're as weird as me.
7am- pack up all stuff, plus Halloween stuff for tomorrow at school plus gfcf cupcakes I made for another kid's bday at school cause I'm a control freak and need James (and Kristen's kids) to eat my food that I know every ingredient of.
Get kids dressed and Eve fed. Pack up meat as gift to nurse for going above and beyond.
7:45- start 45 min drive to dr.
Appt at 8:30am. Done by 9 with draw. Held James for about 15 min drinking chocolate pediasure to make sure he doesn't faint. Eat snack, bathroom, play with waiting room toys.
9:30am- head to toy store for some major overcompensation. Check.
Now we are off to school after another snack. Results not back for about 3 weeks. Soooo...for now...we're fine.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Why Shit Doesn't Get Done

Everyone with kids knows how hard it is to get anything done with them around. One of my favorite sayings: cleaning your house with kids around is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. Truth. It's hard enough to do the things we don't maybe love to do even BEFORE we have kids.
But throw any type of special needs kid in and the difficulty increases exponentially. Everything becomes an emergency. Probably the special needs parent has learned to cope so well under pressure, that they thrive on it and thus put themselves in situations that create the stress they crave. You know, like booking 17 things in one day, or leaving things til the last minute. And when there is a moment to relax away from research, paperwork, therapy, heads spinning, you have to choose to take it, or get shit done. Depends on the shit, really, so you have to weigh the importance. Sometimes just letting shit go will make you a helluva lot happier than stressing about it.
For those with kids, think how disastrous your house gets when one of your kids has an illness. There are snot rags littering the floor, dirty bathrooms, unmade beds, laundry piled up, everyone wears PJs all day, showers are optional, dishes are dirty. Shoot, this could be me anyway. But then consider your child being ill ALL THE TIME. And while you get used to it and adapt, sadly, there has to be a level of acceptance into the chaos of your life or you'll go batshit crazy. Hopefully both parents reach the same level of acceptance together, or you'll drive EACH OTHER batshit crazy.
So if you come to my house and see faded toys and chairs scattered around the yard, and a kiddie pool still containing water even though it's October, don't judge. Consider, perhaps, that my old quirky dog detests water bowls but will drink from the kiddie pool, and I can't handle the added stress of getting her to drink, so we leave out the kiddie pool.
If you see our garage halfway cleaned out, and all the crap that needs to be sorted or thrown away is strewn around the front, consider the fact that the people we hired to do it never came back, and my husband only takes one day off a week. The kids and I would much rather have him spend time with us rather than out in the garage.
If you notice my dining room table has several stacks of paperwork for a really long time, then I tell you I cleaned and you see it stacked into 3 neat should understand that they are organized into "stuff that needs to be dealt with", "stuff that needs to be filed", and trash. And the trash pile will get to the trash can next time I walk that way with empty hands.
If you notice there are always dishes in my sink, consider the fact that they actually haven't been there that long, but that I cook food for my child constantly, so as soon as dishes are done, they are dirty immediately.
So instead of looking at our house that needs painting, TV that needs hanging, deck that needs fixing, cars that need washing, grass that needs tending, stink bugs that need vacuuming, windows that need cleaning, toys that need picking up, light bulbs that need replacing, laundry that needs folding, dogs that need bathing, etc etc etc ad infinitum....and thinking: 'wow, these people are rednecks', perhaps consider thinking: 'wow, these are some happy and really well adjusted people!'
And be glad you're not our neighbors. ;) And if you ARE our glad we're all a mile a part and there's a healthy tree line.

Friday, October 18, 2013

New chapter, same book

I've gotten a lot of texts asking how yesterday was, and so instead of typing it all out, again, I'm just gonna post some of those convos on here:

This is the waiting room ^^^

Okay. We good? That's all I know. :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

On the Road Again...

Most of my blog posts should have a theme song. I wish it could play in the background while you read. Then you'd really be in my head for a while.

For the past few days, Like a Virgin has been playing in my noggin nonstop.

You're welcome.

Anywhoooooo....we are...on the road again. Literally. On our way down to Lynchburg, VA to The Rimland Center. The NNY Autism Center I guess dismantled their out of state patient care due to state restrictions or something. It's a bummer because I was really hoping we were done with expensive deposits and new dr visits, endless paperwork, explaining The Story, and terrorizing James. But alas, no such luck.
On the plus side, I'm pretty excited about this place. If we had known what we were any time in the past few years, this is where we would have gone. But since James isn't autistic, we didn't know where to look. They have a biomedical approach to neurodevelopmental issues. AND they work closely with a nutritionist who's cookbook I've been using for a long while now. I'm sure we will need more bloodwork and who knows what, not to mention more visits, but at least it's only 3 hours away instead of 9....winning!
Also, this is James's 3rd day of a cold with a fever, where usually you should see a doctor....but I haven't taken my kids to a traditional medicine doctor in over a year, because they actually haven't needed it and also because I'm tired of explaining myself. So it's nice that we happen to be going to a doctor today to get him checked out.

On another note, last week we got an invite to a picnic at Robert and Luciana Duvall's farm, which is about a mile from the barn.

The kids were a good excuse to have our picture taken. But in reality, we should have had them take the picture of us cause they haven't seen Lonesome Dove, so they didn't understand the coolness of Augustus McRae.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

True Love

I've often wondered, in that way that girls often do, what it is that made my husband fall for me, and stick with me through this crazy ride we've been on.
Let's face it....I'm no picnic to live with. I'm actually a complete pain in the ass a majority of the time. I dad tells me so.
I'm a total know it all.
I will argue a point to death when I think I'm right, and because of the previous sentence...I'm pretty much always right.
I can be selfish and only think of how everything affects ME.
I'm expensive. Not cause I buy fancy stuff, but I eat a lot and stick with organic.
I don't take the trash out. Ever.
When I peel the sticker off an apple or lemon, I stick it on the side of the sink to throw away later. And by later I mean never.
I'm super weird and picky and if you make me a sandwich and things aren't spread evenly, I won't eat it.
I make my kids weird too.
But one of the hardest things to live with is probably that I'm completely unsympathetic to pain, illness, or discomfort. Take right now, for instance. Tom has a possible broken finger. I say possible because he hasn't been to a doctor, maybe cause it takes A LOT for us to go to the doctor, looks fairly broken. Pretty sure it feels fairly broken. But...ALL I've done is make fun of him. (Okay, it IS his middle finger. I tried to convince him to put a splint on it so I could take a picture.) I mean it's a finger. He'll live. As I was explaining this to a friend today, I said something along the lines of, "oh he'll be fine, it's just he's never broken a bone before. I mean a real bone. He's just done his back and his rib when he punctured that lung." I didn't even realize the funniness of that until she started laughing and called me a "hardcore bitch." Whoops!
But it's nice to be married to someone who can laugh and lighten things that might not be too funny. Like when I had 2 broken arms, metal sticking out of one, and he made me hold his horse at a show. Or when i can't hold a pot with my left hand without it flopping over because of the aforementioned injury. Or when I got kicked by horse in the chest and thrown into a stucco wall and couldn't ride for a while so we decided to go to a NASCAR race, which wasn't actually fun per se but we laughed a lot at the horseshoe print on my chest and the rednecks (also, it hurt a lot to laugh). Or when Tom makes fun of my lack of reaction or reflexes, which comes in handy when riding a skittish horse but not so much when someone tries to...say...toss me the car keys. OH! Or the time Tom fell off the smallest horse in the barn and I almost peed myself. Or when this one horse would pin our legs against the rail in the ring and we'd be stuck until one of us realized what was going on. Okay, some of this is only funny to horse people, but I crack up every time! When you have kids, there will be times you are so tired and covered in shit or puke or who knows what and if you can't find the funny ain't gonna make it. Lord knows we've had some dark times, but eventually one of us will find a way to make the other laugh.
In going over our strange history together, I pinpointed the moment where it all happened. We were down in FL and had a big manure spreader but no ramp to wheel a wheelbarrow up to it and dump. Most people used smaller buckets and would dump it themselves, but we had 11 horses and no time. We'd fill up the biggest wheelbarrows and together we would 1, 2, 3 HEAVE 150 pounds of shit over our heads to land in the spreader (let's not forget our height difference here, people). Honestly, it was a bit miserable to do every day for 2 or 3 months, but EVERY time we'd get "heave", Tom would do something to make me laugh and the ridiculousness and hilarity of the moment would take over and THAT was the moment that he fell in love with me. He thought to himself, "this chick will do ANYTHING!"
Yep, pretty sure we fell in love at a manure spreader. The stuff of legends.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Nation of Complainers

Overall....I'm a mostly positive person. I think it's partly due to the ability to have a bit of tunnel vision and definitely living in the moment. A few months ago I was reminiscing with my mom about when James was at UVA for so long and how I would walk him around the halls in a wagon and goof around. She said something about doing what you need to do and plastering a fake smile on your face. And I get that (truly), but fact is....I wasn't faking it. At those moments, chatting with my many nurse friends and joking with the doctors in my PJs...I was happy! Because the alternative was to be...not happy. I just had to make a choice.
The single most infuriating thing I see on Facebook is when people wrote FML. I'll be honest, I didn't know what this meant for a long time. Now when I see it, I truly want to punch people. Fuck my life? Really???
But I'm not perfect and its very easy to fall into the trap of worrying about all our first world problems.
We are a nation of complainers. "I'm going on vacation but I hate packing or flying or whatever."
"I love living in the country but it's so inconvenient."
"My kids' school is amazing but it costs a lot."
"I own horses but I have no money." (Right...)
Pay attention next time you ask someone how they're doing. I'm finding that when I do, I'm more shocked by the person that says, "I'm great!"than by the person that gives me a laundry list of all the shit in their lives. And I'm COMPLETELY guilty of this at times too. It's like it's not cool to be happy or enjoy your job, or your marriage, kids, house, vacation...
It's not to say I don't want to talk to my friends about stress in their lives. We all have it. But...I mean...most of the's just not THAT bad. And the people who REALLY have it bad, or have had TRULY tough times...they're the ones that complain the least! Because they KNOW the alternative, and they've found a way to be happy a little bit every day.
And so, if next time you ask me, "how are you doing?" and I start immediately complaining, feel free to call me on it. I'll do the same to you.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Why I Love My Friends So Much

I'm very picky about my friends. I don't.....enjoy...most...people....
Sorry, is that rude? Safe to say, if you're reading this, I enjoy you, so we are good.
Here's the thing about my closest friends...
They show up at my house forgetting or just forgoing shoes.
They are the fastest texters ever and can do it even while riding a horse, therefore readily available.
They don't sleep in.

See!!! I heart them.
Sarcasm. They get it.
They've sent the most appropriate care packages to various hospitals. drink.
They're amazing multitaskers, so a question can get answered or a trip planned while they're dealing with another 2 year old or shooting an ad in LA.
They can flat out tell me what to do and I'll listen (this is a big one).
And they're funny. I mean...really funny....

And above all, they get me and all my weirdness...

Thanks guys.
Also, if you notice people missing, it's cause they're texts are so far beyond inappropriate....and I love them for that even more.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Because my Ego is HUGE

For the first time since our honeymoon, Tom and I went away, BY OURSELVES, for our 6 year anniversary. And while no one probably cares too much, part of the purpose of this blog is to document this while process we're going through, and this is a momentous occasion worth documenting.
Since James has finally reached 30 lbs (more or less---still fluctuates), I felt semi-comfortable leaving him in my parents' capable hands for a few days. When I say capable, I mean this: my dad's job was to entertain and distract from the fact we were gone; my mom's job was to make sure they survived my dad's distractions. Success!
Anyway, we took the train up to NYC and pretty much planned our trip around food and beverage. I wanted to schedule as little as possible so we could just do...WHATEVER WE WANTED!!!! It was amazing, and made largely possible (aside from my parents) by my wonderful friend, Annie, who made us the world's most amazing cheat sheet of how to do everything we should, and she knows since I like what she likes. And my long time friend Natalie, who lives in NYC and will soon be starting her own blog of restaurant recommendations and things to do. We were set! And we managed to pack a lot in without ever feeling rushed, which, turns out, is pretty easy when you can't help but wake up at 6am...
We had a great time, ate a lot but walked it off, and drank a lot so my liver was tired but prevailed.

My liver wasn't sure whether to be alarmed or comforted by this...

Just the sight of all this gluten....

And those were pretty much the only pictures we took except for this...just because....

So we returned home to happy, healthy kids who were very happy to see us, which is rewarding, and very tired parents, who were possibly even more happy to see us. They left the next day, both kids started school the day after that...and then.....
Okay this requires a little explanation. A few months ago I joined up with this hilariously inappropriate blog that reviews romance novels. There are 6 of us, and put us together on a group chat and the most convoluted and entertaining conversation will ensue. I love these girls. I'll share the blog but I've already told my family they don't need to read it. Some things are best left swept under the rug. But for others who love to read, we write very honest reviews of all sorts of books, so long as there are hot guys in them.
The Book Whoreders
A while back, the blog reviewed a book called The Wingman Chronicles. The best way to describe it is this review:
Hysterical, right??
Again, if you're family, just don't tell me if you read that.
Over time, the Book Whoreders have corresponded with and pimped out The Wingman himself. So when an opportunity came that some of us could meet in Cleveland to see his show, for the first time since James was born (and really ever), I thought, 'hey, I could go...'
I got to fly on a plane all by myself (!!!!!!!), meaning without kids. I'd have been happy to have Tom with me, but I don't think my parents could have handled any more bonding time. I met my Internet friends (omg) as one sweetly picked me up from the airport and then at our hotel with a view of Lake Eerie, that looks suspiciously like the ocean...

We walked what seemed like many miles due to a confusion of east and west to the club where we proceeded to stay until basically the next morning. No, actually it was the next morning...
These girls are amazing. I love them.

And yes, I got spanked on stage, because in Tom's words, of course I did. (I almost fell down--shoulda worn flip flops)

The show was just about the funniest thing I've ever seen. If you're ever in an area to see him, do it. There are links to creep on him in the blog post.
So after getting back to the hotel at 3-something, I decided I may as well just stay up until my 6am flight home. Since weekends are busiest for us, I had to have our wonderful babysitter show up at 5 am so Tom could get to middleburg. She's a saint and I had to go rescue her.
It was worth it though, I got to sit in the lobby and watch police officers try to calm down an irate patron who's brother was arrested for dropping the F-bomb. Cleveland rocks.